Spring sports

Sacred Heart Greenwich Varsity A lacrosse team tops Penn Charter School, improves its record to 4-0

Photo by David Fierro: Kelly Haggerty, left and Corbin Callaway are senior captains of the Sacred Heart Greenwich lacrosse team, which defeated Penn Charter from Pennsylviania, 11-9, on Thursday at Sacred Heart in Greenwich.

As the first four games of the season illustrated, Sacred Heart Greenwich’s Varsity A lacrosse team, will once again, be difficult for the opposition to contend with.

Thursday’s 11-9 victory against visiting Penn Charter School, a strong squad from Pennsylvania, improved Sacred Heart’s record to 4-0 and displayed a number of its strengths opposing teams that will surely challenge opposing teams throughout the spring.

“We are working hard, I feel like we have a good balanced team,” Sacred Heart co-head coach Sharon Robinson said. “We have a good combination of experienced and younger kids and everyone is working hard.”

The Tigers, who are hosting Cold Spring Harbor, another formidable foe, today, received four goals and two assists from senior attack/co-captain Kelly Haggerty and two goals from junior midfielder Payton Sfreddo in Thursday’s hard-fought triumph against Penn Charter School.

Photo by David Fierro: Kaitlin Robinson of Sacred Heart Greenwich moves the ball up the field against Penn Charter.

Haggerty, who is headed to Fairfield University, where she will play lacrosse, captains the Tigers, along with senior Corbin Callaway. A defender, Callaway will continue her lacrosse career at Bucknell University.

“It’s such an honor to be captain of this team,” Haggerty said. “We have a great group of girls and it’s taught me a lot about being a leader. I think we’re both doing a great job.”

The Tigers’ 2023 campaign began with a 16-5 road win against The Hill School in Pennsylvania on March 22. They visited Noble and Greenough School on March 24 and pulled out an 8-7 win, then rolled to a 15-2 victory against host School of the Holy Child on March 29.

“We have a really great group of girls this year, a lot of returners and a lot of upperclassmen,” Callaway said. “It was a really quick click with the underclassmen and the new freshmen and sophomores coming in. It really shows on the field, as we have some new players coming in and starting, or coming in and subbing and being able to jell with us and work as a unit.”

Sacred Heart’s Kelly Haggerty looks to pass the ball during a recent matchup against Penn Charter.

Like their game at Noble and Greenough, Thursday’s matchup with Penn Charter was a tight one in a game that saw SHG jump out to a 6-0 lead early in the first half.

“I thought we played really well, we came out really hard and we kept up our intensity,” Haggerty noted. “When it got tight, we didn’t let it get us down.”

Karina Sethi, a senior attack/midfielder, who will play lacrosse at the University of Vermont, registered one goal and two assists, while junior attack/midfielder Kaitlin Robinson, a Duke University commit, also tallied one goal and two assists in the home-opener versus Penn Charter.

Goals from Sfreddo and Robinson extended the Tigers’ advantage to 6-0 with 18:53 remaining in the first half. Penn Charter scored three straight goals, then SHG junior attack Wowie Walker tallied, making it 7-3 at the 5:09 mark of the opening half. The Tigers entered halftime with a 7-4 lead.

Photo by David Fierro: Sacred Heart Greenwich’s lacrosse team gathers during its game against Penn Charter.

“We knew they were going to be tough,” Sharon Robinson said of Penn Charter. “They are an excellent program, they play fierce and they are really good. It was a good win for our team.”

Haggerty created a turnover and scored in transition, Sfreddo converted a low shot from close range and junior midfielder Maggie Bacigalupo (who has committed to play lacrosse at Princeton) scored key second-half goals for the victors.

Goalie Laura O’Connor, who will compete on the lacrosse team at Yale University next season, made plenty of impressive saves, some of which were off free position shots, for Sacred Heart.

Photo by David Fierro: Olivia Leahy of Sacred Heart Greenwich brings the ball down the sideline during a recent game.

The Tigers are coming off another winning season and are in their second season in which they are playing an upgraded schedule. Sacred Heart’s final season in the FAA was in 2021.

Haggerty, Sethi and senior Mackenzie Coleman (committed to play lacrosse at Elon University) will be relied upon to help spark the Tigers’ attack, while Robinson, Sfreddo, Maggie Bacigalupo and sophomore Charley Bacigalupo should provide a lot of goals at the midfielder position.

“We all work well together out there on the field,” Haggerty said. “I feel like we are playing very well to start the season.”

Members of the Sacred Heart Greenwich lacrosse team gather around their coaches at halftime of their home game against Penn Charter School on March 30, 2023, in Greenwich. Sacred Heart posted an 11-9 victory.

Walker is also among some of the returning athletes at attack, while sophomore Daphne Fallon is back at midfield for the Tigers, who host Darien, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, on April 4.

On defense, Callaway and O’Connor, anchor a unit that should make it tough for the opposition to get clear shots on goal.

Junior Olivia Leahy, who has committed to play at Stanford University, senior Maggie Sullivan (headed to Colgate to play lacrosse), junior Ava Lillis (committed to play at Davidson College), freshman McKenna Kelly and sophomore Ainsley Clough are also among some of Sacred Heart’s defensive players. Senior Olivia Caponiti also returns in goal.

“We have a nice defense, which works well together,” Callaway noted. “The first half was pretty dominant in this game and it showed in our other games as well.”

From right to left: Corbin Callaway and Kelly Haggerty are senior captains of the Sacred Heart Greenwich lacrosse team.

“Laura O’Connor is going to be strong back there, she is one of the anchors of our defense,” said Sharon Robinson, who guides the team, along with co-head coach Jackie Goldmann.

Athleticism is an asset for the Tigers, who possess a number of multi-sport athletes. Sfreddo (field hockey, basketball lacrosse), Robinson (volleyball, basketball, lacrosse) Leahy (soccer, basketball, lacrosse), Coleman (field hockey, squash, lacrosse) and Caponiti (field hockey, basketball, lacrosse) are just some of the Sacred Heart athletes who compete in more than one varsity sport.

Sacred Heart in action against visiting Penn Charter School.

Sacred Heart hosts Oak Knoll on April 15, Hill Academy (April 20) and crosstown rival Greenwich Academy on April 26. They will also play host to Taft School on May 13.

Indeed, Callaway appreciates her role as one of the Tigers’ captains.

“It’s such an honor, I’ve looked up to all the captains over the years and it’s really surreal to be a captain and be a senior,” Callaway said. “I’m so happy to lead such a great group of girls with Kelly. The girls care so much about lacrosse and it’s really fun to work with them every day.”

Payton Sfreddo of Sacred Heart sprints down the field while being pursued by a Penn Charter player.

Categories: Spring sports

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